Hotel William Gray
421 St-Vincent St., Montreal
The Pitch Montreal is in the midst of a massive hotel boom – more than a dozen properties are expected to open by 2020. Hotel William Gray, which opened its doors in Old Montreal, in 2016 is leading the pack, and attempting to inject new life into a traditional part of town as a result. The property’s 127 rooms are housed in an eight-storey glass tower built atop two historic buildings, Maison Edward-William-Gray and Main Cherrier, that date back to the 18th century. Along with the suites, the hotel boasts a spa with outdoor pool, fitness centre and rooftop terrace. It also brings some of the best of the city inside its walls with Mile End institution Café Olympico opening its second location on the ground floor, indie street wear retailer OTH taking up space with an outlet near the lobby, and restaurant Maggie Oakes serving guests and locals like a varied menu throughout the day (ask the wait staff for guidance and they won’t steer you wrong). Decor throughout the building is modern, with nods to the building’s history (plenty of glass walls and dividers give vantage points on old stone). Here, old meets new, and they get along quite well.
What We Love Though what’s happening at the hotel outside the suites is worth attention, it was hard to leave the cocoon-like room. The decor is a study in simplicity, and it works. The effect is a serene, subtle luxury. Maybe it’s because it was raining and grey during my stay, but that dull light paired so well with the white linens, concrete ceilings, dark furniture and fixtures, and grey marble bathroom that I didn’t want to leave the confines of my room. And with 24-hour room service courtesy of the kitchen Maggie Oakes, staying put for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) in bed is a real option.
Don’t Miss While the main-floor “living room” is cozy with ample seating areas, including a few that are impressively private, it’s Hotel William Gray’s rooftop patio that is a must visit during your stay if the weather is on your side. A glass of wine is the perfect accompaniment to views of the old town and the waterfront, which are plentiful. So much of Montreal is being at street level — walking in Old Montreal or Mile End, coffee at a street-side cafe, lining up at Schwartz’s for a sandwich — that sometimes, being physically above it all, even if just for a drink, is a needed escape.
Rooms from $255 per night